Business school releases report
By CASEY HARPER
THE CENTER SQUARE SENIOR REPORTER
(The Center Square) — A new report estimated the annual cost of elevated inflation this year will be around $3,500 per household.
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the nation’s leading business schools, released the report, which estimated much higher costs for American families because of inflation that has risen this year at the fastest rate in decades.
“We estimate that inflation in 2021 will require the average U.S. household to spend around $3,500 more in 2021 to achieve the same level of consumption of goods and services as in recent previous years (2019 or 2020),” the report said. “Moreover, we estimate that lower-income households spend more of their budget on goods and services that have been more impacted by inflation.”
Inflation means a range of goods and services are more expensive for Americans.
Federal economic data released Tuesday showed the producer price index, a leading marker of inflation, rose to 9.6% in the previous 12 months, the highest level on record.
Meanwhile, recently released data on the consumer price index, another indicator of inflation, showed the fastest increase in nearly 40 years.
“The monthly all items seasonally adjusted increase was the result of broad increases in most component indexes, similar to last month,” the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. “The indexes for gasoline, shelter, food, used cars and trucks, and new vehicles were among the larger contributors. The energy index rose 3.5% in November as the gasoline index increased 6.1 percent and the other major energy component indexes also rose. The food index increased 0.7% as the index for food at home rose 0.8 percent.”
Gas prices have risen dramatically this year. According to the American Automobile Association, the national average is about $3.32 for a gallon of regular gasoline, up from an average of $2.19 last year.
California’s price is higher. AAA said Thursday that the state’s average price is $4.67 per gallon. According to AAA, the average price in Santa Barbara County is $4.626 per gallon.
Those costs hit poorer families even harder, according to the report.
“Lower income households will have to spend about 7% more while higher income households will have to spend about 6% more,” the report said.
News-Press Managing Editor Dave Mason contributed to this story.
Casey Harper works at The Center Square’s Washington, D.C., bureau.